All Of It Was Always There

Do you know it costs money to clean cloths!!!

The soap & fabric softener sheets.

Quarters to kick the Machines into life.

After 37 years of life on this planet you would think I would have grasped this concept sooner. Or maybe I simply forgot about it. Last week i was brutally confronted with the inconvenience of being broke (not that unusual) & not having anything to wear… well, nothing to wear that smelled good.

It costs $1.75 for a load of laundry to be washed & dried in this building. I did not ask for any money to clean my cloths. Even when I was homeless, approaching strangers to ask for money seemed wrong. And the thought terrified me. I would ask for a bottle. I would ask for a cigarette. Never money.

Thankfully, to my benefit & to the benefit of those in close proximity to me, the Program I am in has a donation room.

(That did not solve my underwear problem, but I found some much-needed shirts, socks & a pair of slacks.)

Back in my early 20s I had an apartment in Akron, OH. I lived alone. My long-time girlfriend at the time was over on a regular basis. She had an apartment of her own not far from me &, in hindsight, my life would be very different today had we moved in with one another.

Where I am at now – how I am living now – requires more Self Reliance, Responsibility & Acceptance than I have had since those Akron Days.

There were times in Missoula, back when I cared for my son, that count, I guess. But I felt as though I was a part of a unit. And I was. It’s called a family. Now, I feel more grounded. More real! for lack of a better term.

Today, realizing clean cloths requires cash reminded me of my first month at the Akron apartment. The end of the month, to be specific.

Do you know toilet paper does not magically appear under the sink or in the bathroom closet?

You have to buy it!

Funny: I don’t remember having to do that as a kid. And my mother sure as heck did not tell me about buying the stuff. I had to learn the hard way. And you don’t want me to write that rotten story.

There were other things, too:

Shampoo & Hand Soaps.

Napkins & Paper Towels.

Resentment started growing over these foul products – products, I think, are essential. Not realizing how important they were to me until I tried going without them. Not so much to save money. No. No. I was childish. I wanted to spend my dollars on fun things.

A lot of things have changed since I was twenty. I’m a little leery on spending money on something that is fun, or funny.

(I feel uncomfortable having money – period!)

But those cloths need to be laundered; dirty dishes need to be washed & dried; the cell phone needs to stay on; fees & fine payments need to be up-to-date.

Books can be obtained on loan from a library. My boots may be frayed & falling apart, but the Better Wardrobe can wait… affordable gifts to others are better than wasteful indulgences.

It is the first of the month.

My bank account has been replenished for the month.

November will be the first month I have – as a test – to show myself how adult I will act with $$$. With maintaining an apartment & “Working A Program” as an independent… with nurturing better relationships with those important to me… with working the word – all of these things seem to have a sense of fragility.

And I feel I have to prove to those people I want very much to see that I am capable of rising up from where I have been for far too long. – That I have to be better before I can see them.

(One of the things keeping me up at night: when will I feel Good & Confident enough to see any of them? Will I ever be well enough to be around them?)

Love from a distance Protects all very well, in its own way. But what does it illuminate?

I could have left last night. Money at my disposal. Cheap motels everywhere. The bottles standing where bottles stand: at attention, waiting for attention. My Demon a phone call away.

Those things will always be out there, waiting.


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